What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Authenticating Your Terms When Communicating With the Spiritually Blind

For those who engaged my last posting on how to identify cultic doctrine while dialoguing with a member of the local Kingdom Hall or a couple of Mormon missionaries, I would like to take this a little further and open this posting with an illustration.  

After a fire team squad completes an operation, each squad returns home. However, before they depart on the mission, or during the operation each squad leader receives the authentication code from the home base for their return "home" once the operation is completed. Before their return, a sqaud will have to go through the "commo" process between the RTO's (radio transmission operators at "home" and in the field) to the authenticate the squad authentically identifies with the platoon. At times the squad leader may even have to go through the process of authenticating each returning member of the fire team to make sure the enemy has not or is not entering the camp.

When speaking to members of the Jehovah's Witnesses or two nice people from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is important to make sure we "authenticate" our terms with the Bible (home base) because those in the JW's and the Mormons use our language to communicate a false message and theology. In other words, they speak "Christianese" in order to dupe people into thinking that they are "Christians" or an ally to biblical Christianity, when in fact they are far from the truth.

In this posting what I would like to do is lay out for us the "authentication sheet" so that when you and I are talking to members of these groups, we can know what they are saying, pick out the error and communicate the truth clearly to them. 

ON THE BIBLE

LDS - The Bible is correct only as far as it is correctly translated. It is basically trustworthy. It is the only one of the four standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) that is not considered infallible.

JW - The Bible is the inerrant word of God. (CAVEAT:  Be careful. Though the J.W. organization believes in the inspired Word of God it has changed the Bible to support its own theological biases, watering down any passages that address a relationship with God, passages that address the deity of Jesus Christ and His eternal nature)

Bible - the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God, historically reliable and trustworthy (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16-21).

ON SALVATION

LDS - Simple bodily resurrection and glorification toward attaining godhood. It does not simply mean forgiveness of sins. Jesus died for universal resurrection. 

JW - Earned by good works set forth from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and in cooperation with Jesus sacrifice. 

Bible - Forgiveness of sins with the results of a present new life and in the future eternal life with God (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 10:9-10).

ON HEAVEN

LDS - Divided into three Kingdoms: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. The Celestial is for perfect Mormons, the Terrestrial is for moral people and lukewarm LDS, and the Telestial Kingdom is for everyone else, to hear the Mormon message again. Eternal Plan of Progression

JW - The place that God dwells. Christians do not go to heaven except for 144,000 elite J.W.s.*

Bible - The dwelling place of God (1 Kings 8:30). Christians go to heaven.

*This dogma may have changed a bit due to the previous generations of JW's passing on into eternity.

ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

LDS - A spirit man. He can only be at one place at one time... (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce McConkie, p. 359.) The Holy Ghost is contrasted with the Holy Spirit which is the influence of the Godhead that fills the immensity of space which enables God to know what is going on.

JW - Gods active force. He is not alive, but a force like radar.

Bible - Third person of the Godhead, and co-eternal with the Father and the Son. Same as Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4).

ON ETERNAL LIFE

LDS - Exaltation (exaltation to a Mormon means obtaining Godhood) in the Celestial Kingdom.

JW - Eternal life on paradise earth - for J.W.s only. 

Bible - Forgiveness of sins and life eternal with God (John 17:3; Rom. 6:23).

ON THE GODHEAD (THE TRINITY)

LDS - An office held by three separate Gods: the Father who is a god; Jesus who is a god; and the 
Holy Ghost who is a god.

JW - Consists of only one person: the Father.

Bible - God Himself, not an office. Three persons in one God.  A Trinity: The Father; the Son; and the Holy Spirit.

ON JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH

LDS - Spirit brother of Satan. A god in the Godhead. He is Jehovah of the O.T. compared to 
Elohim being the Father. He was the first spirit child to be born to the Father and Mother gods.

JW - Jesus is not God, but Michael the Archangel who became a man and then stopped being a man and became an angel again. 

Bible - Jesus is God, second person of the Trinity (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).

ON THE ATONEMENT

LDS - The sacrifice of Christ that made resurrection possible along with the possibility of our earning forgiveness of sins.

JW - The atonement makes possible our earning salvation.

Bible - The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. He died for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2).

ON PRE-EXISTENCE

LDS - We existed in heaven with God our (literal) Father before we became human.

JW - No pre-existence.

Bible - We did not exist before we came to earth (1 Cor. 15:46).

ON THE GOSPEL

LDS - The laws and the ordinances of the Mormon church.

JW - The teachings of Jesus, the kingdom and kingdom work (it is general and vague).

Bible - The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

As you can see, many of the definitions are quite different though some too are very similar. The better you know them the better able you will be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Pet. 3:15).

Remember that when you communicating with people who have a false message, you are the one who has the right meaning straight from "home base" rooted and grounded on the historical faith, once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).



























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